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Deyu as moral education in modern China: ideological functions and transformations

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During its evolution Chinese moral education has developed pronounced ideological aspects. This stems from traditions of first equating politics with morality, phrasing them both in the same language, and then of encouraging correct moral and political relations and behaviours through education. This trend dates back three thousand years to Zhou Gong and continued through Confucius and his followers. From 1949, through the Cultural Revolution and the present transition to a market economy, a similarly unified approach to political, ideological and moral education has been effected through the organizational medium of deyu . As well as providing a historical overview, this paper examines the ideological function and political structure of deyu and the changes that are occurring within it. In the light of current changes in China, deyu is now starting to shift its focus away from ideological education and towards citizenship education. This reflects important changes in core values, to include individualism, economic initiative and consumerism, all of which confront Chinese society and education with distinct challenges and opportunities, and suggest even further reform of deyu during the 21st century.

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/0305724042000315581

Affiliations: Sun Yat-Sen University Guangzhou People's Republic of China

Publication date: January 1, 2004

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